NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – More than 100 veterans who fought with honor for their country during WWII woke up with the sunrise Tuesday, excited about a special day to honor them.
The veteran's drove under a huge American flag as they made their way to the airport around 6:30 a.m.
Smiles encircled the lobby of Wilmington International Airport as the passengers stood in line to retrieve their boarding passes. Friends and families surrounded their loved ones, excited for the journey they were about to embark.
"When we went overseas for WWII, most of us didn't expect to come home," said Al Newsom. "I feel fortunate."
For some, the anticipation was overwhelming, as they had never been given an opportunity to see the World War II Memorial in Washington DC. Thanks to Honor Flight Southeastern North Carolina, that was all about to change.
The veterans were allowed to board the US Airbus at their leisure, giving them plenty of time to get comfortable. A few tears rolled down the cheeks of veterans, overcome with emotions as they were one step closer to DC.
"This is one of the most wonderful things I've ever seen," said Richard Marston. "It's something I didn't think I would ever have the pleasure of doing."
The inaugural Honor Flight left the ground around 8:30 a.m. and arrived at Reagan National Airport just an hour later. Veterans began their tour of the memorial built in their honor around 10:30 and will spend quite some time there before touring other parts of DC.
"You can't describe it, because it represents so many men who are here alive or not here," said Alex Moskowitz.
For more information about the program or to make a donation for future flights, visit www.honorflightsenc.org or call (910) 874-VETS (8387).
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